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Conserving battlefields

Culloden (c) NTS
Battles took place within landscapes that were living, working environments at the time and have evolved continually since then. These landscapes need to be managed today to meet the requirements of modern life. Battlefields have to be managed proactively and positively, recognising that the positive contribution they can make to our landscape, our sense of identity and to our economy.

The purpose of the Inventory in identifying and providing information on nationally important battlefields is to try to ensure that change happens in a way that takes the battlefield landscape and its constituent elements into account sympathetically and avoids unnecessary damage to this finite resource. This means seeking to retain key landscape characteristics and important features for the future, protecting, managing, enhancing and promoting them as appropriate, while allowing the landscape to accommodate modern demands.

There are no new legal restrictions on the area identified by the Inventory maps. Instead, the Inventory sites will be given particular consideration in the planning process and in the plans and policies of other relevant public bodies.

The role of planning authorities

Planning authorities should take the Inventory sites into account when preparing development plans and considering development proposals for their areas.  They are encouraged to establish policies within their development plans and may give battlefields additional protection through conservation area status or other local landscape designation. They are also encouraged to develop appropriate conditions and agreements to protect and enhance sites on the Inventory, and to set out criteria to guide their decision-making.

Some battlefields that have not been included in the Inventory may still be of national importance, but cannot be sufficiently well-defined at present. Others are of regional or local significance, contributing to the understanding of the archaeology and history of a specific area.  Planning authorities may wish to develop appropriate policies for such sites.

Planning authorities may consult Historic Environment Scotland on development proposals considered to affect an Inventory battlefield and our views should be given consideration in their determination of a case.

The role of public bodies

Public bodies with responsibilities for landscape, land-use, land management and utilities should develop policies and guidelines for battlefields as appropriate to their work. They may also consult Historic Environment Scotland and take our views into account.

While it is for individual authorities to devise their own policies for battlefields, Historic Environment Scotland has worked closely with planning authorities and other key public bodies to establish guiding principles for managing battlefields in a sustainable way. This is available as a guidance note in Historic Environment Scotland’s Managing Change in the Historic Environment series.

Contact us

Historic Environment Scotland
Longmore House
Salisbury Place
Tel: +44 (0) 131 668 8766